The news that Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange would be joining Tom Holland in Spider-Man 3 might have only broken this week, but the partnership might have been in the works for more than a year.
Way back in the good old year of 2019, Holland mentioned that he was keen to team up with the Sorcerer Supreme. After his on-screen mentorships via Tony Stark and Nick Fury, Holland was asked which member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe he'd like to work alongside next.
"I'm really wanting to do a team-up with Doctor Strange, because we're both New Yorkers and I just really like the idea of a science guy being teamed up with a guy who does magic," he told CinemaBlend (opens in new tab) at the time (via Comicbook (opens in new tab)).
"It contradicts everything [Spider-Man] knows. And I like the idea that there is real science that Peter Parker talks about, and then there's Doctor Strange gibberish, where he's like 'The time rift and the thing and the thing'. So it's kind of fun."
There's plenty of precedent to pairing up Holland and Cumberbatch. As well as sharing time on-screen during Avengers: Infinity War the duo featured alongside one another outside the MCU in 2017's The Current War. In the Marvel comicbooks, Doctor Strange has been known to work with Spider-Man – in 2010's One Moment in Time, he helps Parker restore his secret identity after a very public unmasking, which could offer a hint as to the plot of the next Spider-Man film.
Holland's desire for a partnership might just have been a coincidence, but the star has historically loose lips when it comes to his role as Spider-Man, which could mean that he knew far more than he was letting on last summer.
Both Spider-Man 3 and Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness are expected to begin filming this month, in Atlanta and London respectively. Holland's outing is currently scheduled to hit screens in December 2021, while Cumberbatch will follow in March 2022. For more on the future of the Marvel movies, be sure to check out our Marvel Phase 4 explainer.